Welcome to our blog....here we will share all our afternoon tea adventures with you...the good, the bad and the wonderful!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013...our year of afternoon teas

Hello there,

Well its finally the end of 2013 and what a tea-riffic year it's been! Lorna and I have sampled rather a lot of afternoon teas this year, many of which have featured on this blog.

Looking back over the year we've indulged in traditional afternoon teas in the sunshine......

Afternoon tea at Warren House
and afternoon teas inspired by the catwalks.....

Pret a Portea at The Berkeley

We've sampled disappointing afternoon teas....with no tea in sight.....

Not Afternoon Tea at The Oxo Tower

and saucy afternoon teas accompanied by nipple tassels.....

Burlesque Afternoon Tea at Volupte Lounge

We've enjoyed an afternoon tea inspired by a children's book.....

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory inspired tea at One Aldwych

and spooky offerings at Halloween.....

Halloween afternoon tea at the Ampersand

Its been a lovely experience and we are so pleased that you've joined us on our tea adventures so far!

Lorna and I have been reviewing the tea's we've indulged in this year and we've tried to decide which was our favourite....but it turns out that is a very hard decision to make!

We both loved the service at the Intercontinental Westminster hotel, the waiters were all friendly and so helpful and our teacups were never empty......

Afternoon tea at Intercontinental Westminster

And we were both blown away by the tea knowledge that the waiters at the Athenaeum hotel demonstrated when helping me decide what tea to drink with my afternoon tea.

The tea menu at The Athenaeum

We had a lot of fun at The Reform Social & Grill - so much so that we actually went several times this year! Lorna really enjoyed her Gentleman's Afternoon Tea there.

Sweet treats at Reform Social & Grill

I loved the creativity of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea that One Aldwych had on offer this year - so much so that I have signed Lorna and I up to their afternoon tea masterclass in March (blog post to follow!).

The savouries were not forgotten in One Aldwych's
 Charlie and the Chocoalte Factory Afternoon Tea!

If you ask our friend Becca....her favourite afternoon tea is the Pret a Portea at The Berkeley. Inspired by fashion, it is a highly imaginative tea.....

Pret a Portea at The Berkeley

Each tea we have tried has been very different and we've thoroughly enjoyed most of them! One things for sure.....there are an awful lot more afternoon teas out there for us to try and we can't wait for 2014 to begin!

Thank you once again for reading our little blog, we love sharing our thoughts and photos with you.

Wishing all our readers a Tea-riffic 2014 - filled with tea and cakes!

Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 30 December 2013

Time for Tea....The Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tea Room

Hello there,

Well its been a tea filled year...we've enjoyed all sorts of afternoon teas in lots of different places with a variety of friends, both old and new!

My last afternoon tea of 2013 was taken in the Exclusive Cake Shop and Vintage Tea Room in a small town called Midhurst, West Sussex. The shop is owned and run by Carole, and offers homemade bespoke cakes and afternoon tea experiences. The tearoom was found by my friend Alex, who knew it would be right up my street.....and she wasn't wrong there!

The interior of the tearoom is just lovely....full of wonderful vintage china and decorated beautifully. As you walk through the door you are greeting by a rather scrummy looking cake display and a wall of teapots (that I was very jealous of)...

Cakes galore!
The tearoom's tea menu is extensive with a wonderful choice of different teas...everyone will find a tea that suits them on the menu! I am also pleased to report that the tea is served in teapots in pretty vintage china....

The menu is also full of wonderful sweet and savoury treats and the tearoom prides itself on sourcing a lot of their ingredients from the surrounding area.

You can pick from a specials board or from the extensive menu. There are individual tea sandwiches on offer plus other toasted treats such as crumpets. You can also enjoyed homemade scones and a wide range of cakes. It probably doesn't surprise you though to read that I wanted just one thing....the full afternoon tea experience!

Once we had picked our teas we were presented with a wonderful cake stand full of freshly prepared sandwiches....

Afternoon tea sandwiches

We were given egg mayonnaise, salmon and cream cheese, ham and mustard and cucumber. The sandwiches were so fresh and tasty, the fillings very generous and the bread was soft - the perfect afternoon tea sandwich! This little lot was for just two people and we were asked if we wanted anymore!
Once we had decided that we could not eat anymore sandwiches, this cake stand was removed and it was replaced by this....
Sweet treats!

 On this cake stand were scones topped with cream and jam, mini coffee éclairs, mini strawberry cupcakes, mini cherry bakewells and slices of chocolate tiffin.
I have to say that everything tasted wonderful, and was the perfect size to enjoy. I think either the éclair or the chocolate tiffin was my favourite part.....but if I'm honest it was all rather tasty!
Rather controversially our scone was already sliced and dressed for us.....
The controversial scone!

The cream and jam were the wrong way around (Lorna wouldn't have been impressed!), but it was a very generous portion!
The service throughout was brilliant and very friendly. We were offered more sandwiches and the hot water in our teapots was refilled several times.
At £16 per person for this tea I think it was a real bargain and I would definitely go back again. As well as enjoying the food and drink in the tearoom, you can also buy items to take home with you - an added bonus to the experience!
Tea With Me and Friends enjoyed a lovely traditional afternoon tea

All in all this is a lovely tearoom, offering fresh, homemade treats at a very reasonable price. I was very pleased to end the year on a high note!
Thank you for popping by today,

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Time for Tea....Pennyhill Park Hotel

Hello there,

Whilst looking on my timeline on Facebook yesterday I noticed that some of my friends Rachel and Hannah were at Pennyhill Park Hotel in Bagshot, Surrey enjoying afternoon tea. I've heard of Pennyhill Park, but have never been there myself and so decided I must find out what the afternoon tea on offer is like!

The hotel itself is a 5 star luxury country house hotel, set within 123 acres of Surrey parkland. As well as the hotel and Michelin starred dining there is also a 45,000 square foot spa to enjoy.

Afternoon tea is served throughout the year, either in the Ascot bar or weather permitting outside on the terrace. On the day Rachel and Hannah visited there was a pianist accompanying the tea in the Ascot bar, however they were seated rather close to the entertainment which made it a little bit difficult to hear each other.

There are several different afternoon teas on offer, with different "bubbly" accompaniments to enjoy with the set food menu. Rachel and Hannah enjoyed some champagne with their afternoon tea.....

Afternoon tea consists of a selection of freshly cut finger sandwiches which Rachel particularly enjoyed. Followed by freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream. Finally there were a selection of homemade cakes and pastries.

There is also an extensive tea menu to pick from.

Tea starts from £29.50 per person for the Traditional Ascot Afternoon Tea, if you would like to enjoy a Royal Ascot Afternoon Tea and add a glass of sparkling wine to your feast this is £39.00 per person.

Hannah reported that this is a good value afternoon tea - with lots of treats on offer.

Alfresco afternoon tea served in the summer months
 - photo from Pennyhill Park website

If you are celebrating a Birthday you can opt for a Celebration Afternoon Tea where you will enjoy a glass of bubbles with your afternoon tea and an individual birthday cake baked by the pastry chef. This afternoon tea costs £46.00 per person.
This sounds like a wonderful afternoon tea, set in lovely surroundings. Thank you to Rachel and Hannah for sharing their experience with me! If you've enjoyed an afternoon tea we'd love to hear about it - either leave us a message here or email us!
Thank you for popping by today,

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Other People's Festive Afternoon Teas

Hello there,

You might remember our posts a couple of months ago where we featured photos that our friends on Twitter and Facebook had taken of afternoon teas they had enjoyed.

Well, those posts were so popular that we decided we needed to see what festive afternoon teas people have been enjoying.

Are you sitting comfortable and are you ready to drool? There are some scrummy photos coming up.....

Intercontinental Park Lane's festive afternoon tea
To start us off Claire from The Secret Tea Society enjoyed a 12 days of Christmas afternoon tea at Intercontinental Park Lane. Look at the pastry swan peeking from the top tier!
Harriet's Secret Tearoom's pretty festive afternoon tea
Emily and her mum enjoyed a festive afternoon to at Harriet's Secret Tearoom in Melton Mowbray. Read more about their lovely tea on Emily's fab blog!

One Aldwych's scrummy afternoon tea
 Hazel from Cupcake Daisy took some time out from her busy baking schedule to enjoy One Aldwych's festive take on their wonderful Charlie and the Chocolate Factory afternoon tea....complete with gingerbread pops and some surprising candy floss!
Crackers with your festive afternoon tea at Tea Total
 April Moores enjoyed a festive tea complete with crackers at Tea Total in Lyndhurst. I like the look of those mini puddings!
Bond and Brook offer an elegant festive afternoon tea
 Anomalous London enjoyed an elegant festive afternoon tea at Bond and Brook in Fenwick of Bond Street

Netherdene B&B offer a fab festive afternoon tea
 Netherdene B&B in Cumbria have been serving up their guests this festive treat, complete with scrummy looking mince pies and Christmas cake.
Jumeirah Carlton Tower's imaginative festive afternoon tea
 Tazmin from sapphire Event Design recently enjoyed the Eric Lanlard festive afternoon tea served at Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel in London - I'm still a tad bit jealous of this afternoon tea, it looks so scrummy!

An international afternoon tea served at the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok
 A festive tea slightly further afield was enjoyed by J Lim - this is the afternoon tea currently being served at the Conrad Hotel in Bangkok! That Stollen looks wonderful!
A lavish festive afternoon tea feast served by Exquisite Vintage Teas
Finally Exquisite Vintage Teas have been creating these wonderful festive afternoon treats.
See....I told you there were some scrummy photos to enjoy! Thank you to everyone who has shared their afternoon tea photos with us, I do love hearing about your tea adventures!
I hope you've enjoyed our photos, if you've enjoyed an afternoon tea recently and would like to share your photo with us please get in touch. You can leave a comment here, email us or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter!
Finally, we'd like to thank all our fab readers a tea-riffic Christmas - I hope you have a wonderful time.
Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Monday, 23 December 2013

UK Blog Awards 2014

Hello there,

I hope you are having a tea-riffic day so far!

I just wanted to share the news with you that we have entered our little afternoon tea blog in the UK Blog Awards 2014 and we are tad bit excited! The awards will be judged by an official panel early next year, but we have to get through a successful public vote first.

We'd really appreciate it if you could vote for us.....you simply need to click the link below and leave your name and email address.

Every vote counts at this stage and we'd really appreciate your support!
Afternoon Tea Treats!
Thank you for popping by today,
Rachel and Lorna

Time for Tea....W Hotel London

This weekend Becca, Sheree and I decided to have a festive day in London - first we headed off to Harrods (because we're mad) for a spot of shopping and then onto the W Hotel in Leicester Square to enjoy their festive afternoon tea - Rock Around the Christmas Tea.

W Hotel usually offers guests a W Rock Tea, which is a traditional British afternoon tea with a Rock "n" Roll twist....but since its the festive season they have added a festive twist to their afternoon tea.

W Hotel is a modern, glamorous hotel situated on Leicester Square and the W Hotel Bar and Lounge is very contemporary. The hotel offers just ten teas with their afternoon tea, all appear to be bagged tea and are served in stainless steel teapots and white china teacups.

Modern teapots and china
Also on offer with the afternoon tea is a choice of three Christmas themed cocktails, they are priced at £10 each and Becca and I were both tempted to try one....
Festive cocktail anyone?
When the food arrives at our table it looked rather spectacular and was served on a bespoke three tier cake stand. Each tier of the stand was a record to fit in with the rock "n" roll theme....
Festive afternoon tea at W Hotel London
The food is well presented and looks very appealing and there is plenty of choice.
On the bottom tier there is a selection of savoury items including some controversial triple decker sandwiches! We could enjoy salmon and cream cheese and roast beef sandwiches, or small turkey and cranberry rolls or a veggie wrap. All were generously filled, but I would question how fresh they were as the bread on top of the sandwiches had turned a little hard already.
Controversial triple decker afternoon tea sandwiches!
Next we moved onto the scones, which were currant scones served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Becca is unfortunately allergic to strawberries and when we mentioned this the waitress found some small jars of raspberry and apricot jam as an alternative for her.
The scones were the low point of this afternoon tea - they were over baked and not far off being rock cakes. Very disappointing.
After attempting (and failing) to eat the scones we quickly moved onto the sweet treats on offer, hoping these would be better......
Sweet treats galore!
On the next two layers we were treated to six different sweet treats...some were divine and some were not to our taste, but we definitely weren't disappointed with the amount of choice on offer.
The treats included "O Christmas Tree" which was a red velvet sponge topped with cream cheese frosting, "All I Want for Christmas is Choux" which was a choux pastry bun filled with eggnog crème patisserie and "Love This Angel Instead" which was a mascarpone mouse with cherry and chocolate.
But my favourite bits were the "Jingle Bell Rocky Road" a wonderful rocky road bite, topped with marshmallow and a candy cane and the "Holly and the Ivy" a very tasty gingerbread holly leaf, filled with a sparkly raspberry jam - I could have eaten loads of those!

My favourite sweet treats in the afternoon tea
The final sweet treat to be served was the "Mistletoe and Wine" which was a mulled wine jelly topped with Chantilly cream. Now I really enjoyed this, but if you're not a fan of mulled wine it will leave a bad taste in your mouth!
This tea is priced at £25 per person, which I think is reasonable due to the amount of choice on offer. However I am sad to report that despite the assistance with Becca's food allergy, the overall service wasn't up to scratch.
Admittedly there were only two waitresses working when we were there but it wasn't particularly busy in the lounge and yet no one came to see if we were happy with our tea or whether we needed anything else. We had to ask for more tea once we'd run out and we were never asked whether we wanted seconds of anything.
However, saying that we would give them the benefit of the doubt as we would like to try their normal W Rock Tea, as we enjoyed the concept of the tea and it is great value in terms of choice.
To finish our festive day we saw the famous Coca Cola truck that was paying a visit to nearby Covent Garden.....
The Holidays Are Coming!
If you've tried this festive offering, or any other festive afternoon tea, we'd love to hear about it - leave us a comment or send us an email!
Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna

Square Meal

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Time for Tea....Jumeira Carlton Tower

Hello there,

Christmas is fast approaching and by spending some time on Twitter and Instagram I can see that lots of people are enjoying festive afternoon teas at the moment. One tea that has caught my eye is the Eric Lanlard Christmas afternoon tea at the Chinoiserie restaurant in the Jumeira Carlton Tower.

To be honest when you are greeted by pictures like this on a restaurant webpage, I think you know the tea is going to look pretty fantastic too.....

Photo from Jumeirah Carlton Tower website
So, when I saw this brilliant photo on Instagram I just had to contact the person and see if I could include it on our blog....
Tazmin from Saphire Event Designs replied to my request and sent me rather a lot of other scrummy photos too, which I just had to share with you.
The Chinoiserie is a beautiful restaurant, and Tazmin said you really felt like you were situated in the lap of luxury while enjoying your afternoon tea. I'm pleased to hear that service throughout the afternoon tea is impeccable too.
Picture from Jumeirah Carlton Tower website
Currently there is the traditional afternoon tea on offer, but also the festive creation by master patisserie Eric Lanlard. The festive version includes sandwiches filled with seasonal turkey and cranberry, chicken liver and salmon, these are followed by a scones and a whole host of festive sweet treats to enjoy.
The tea range is extensive and includes middle eastern teas as well.
All dietary requirements can be catered for at this restaurant.
Here are some more of Tazmin's photo's.....get ready to drool.....
Festive afternoon tea



Flavours found within this afternoon tea include creamy eggnog, mulled wine and chestnuts - a full on festive experience!
This festive afternoon tea costs £40 per person, if you'd like to add a glass of bubbles to your tea it will be £50 per person.
I have to say I think this tea looks amazing and I am a little bit jealous that I haven't tried it myself. A big thank you to Tazmin for sharing these with me.
If you've enjoyed a festive afternoon tea, or are hosting one at home we'd love to hear about it. Please leave us a comment or send us an email!
Thank you for popping by today and we hope to see you again soon!
Rachel & Lorna

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Tis the Season...to indulge in afternoon tea!

Hello there,

Well, with Christmas just around the corner we thought it would be fun to look at festive afternoon teas that you could make at home. As you'll know if you've popped by here before Lorna and I love indulging in afternoon teas in hotels and tearooms...but we also enjoy hosting our own afternoon tea at home with our friends.

Christmas time is a lovely time to get creative in the kitchen - whether you enjoy traditional food such as Christmas cake or Stollen or prefer something more contemporary, its a great time to host an afternoon tea of your own!
Our homemade festive afternoon tea
 For this tea we kept the sandwiches and scones quite traditionally, sticking with flavours that we knew our friends enjoyed such as egg mayonnaise and coronation chicken. But to get into the festive spirit you could have turkey and cranberry finger sandwiches, or how about some brie and grape?

Our scones were plain and served with cream and strawberry jam, but you could add seasonal flare with cranberry scones....or indulge your sweet tooth with chocolate chip scones.

Traditional afternoon tea finger sandwiches
Our festive spread did include some homemade mince pies....I like to make my mince pies with little stars on top rather than the full lids as this allows the mincemeat to ooze out a little. These were served warm with cream.....
Homemade mince pies and cream
We then got creative with our sweet baking and I opted for a contemporary feel rather than traditional with Christmas tree biscuits, melted snowmen cakes and Christmas tree cupcakes.
Christmas tree biscuits - perfect for an afternoon tea table!
 My butter biscuits were cut with a cutter, iced with green icing and then I added some decoration in red and white sprinkles.

Christmas afternoon tea cakes!
My melted snowmen cakes were topped with white icing and a marshmallow, and I added a little detail with some darker icing. The Christmas tree cakes are plain vanilla sponge topped with a swirl of green icing and an edible gold star.
Some of my guests were sad to see the snowmen melting!
Melted snowman cupcake
You could be more traditional with your sweet treats, offering small pieces of Christmas cake or slices of Stollen.
There are various different Christmas blends of black tea that you can serve at a festive afternoon tea, there are also some wonderful fruity teas. We opted to serve some bubbles at our tea too - well its a special occasion after all!
Finally, don't forget to decorate your festive tea-table! Obviously do this to your taste...but I think a little decoration is a must! As you can see Father Christmas joined us at our festive tea!
A Tea with Me and Friends Festive
Afternoon Tea!
If you host a Christmas afternoon tea over the next couple of weeks we'd love to hear about it and see photos!
We hope you have enjoyed this festive post - pop back over the festive period to see some more posts from us. We will be featuring a review of another Christmas afternoon tea and will have a special photo post featuring teas that our friends have indulged in recently. If you have a photo you'd like to see on the post please get in touch - you can leave a comment here or email us with the photo!
Thanks for popping by today,
Rachel & Lorna